i offered Anemone Hat as one of my first virtual classes at Ann’s By Design. It was a learning experience. Several of my favorite women from Ann’s joined the class and it was fun. Of course I didn’t wait until Christmas to give the hat to Carmen. And here it is!
Back in the summer and fall of 2020, we were trying to find ways to bring business into Ann’s By Design. That and a comment from Carmen the Magician who cuts my hair helped me rediscover the Anemone Hat by Cat Bordhi. It has been one of my favorite things to knit for many years. Since Cat had recently passed away, it seemed important to pay tribute to a woman who brought so much joy to my life.
I always give Carmen something I’ve knit for Christmas. When I gave her the 2019 gift she said, “Next yeat would you make a hat for Lucy?” Lucy is Carmen’s adorable granddaughter. In the fall of 2020 when we all needed something to make us smile, a surprise for Carmen, tribute to Cat and attempt to help Ann’s By Design gave us that smile. The moon, stars and planets aligned and I pulled out the Anemone Hat pattern and decided to spread some joy.
i offered Anemone Hat as one of my first virtual classes at Ann’s By Design. It was a learning experience. Several of my favorite women from Ann’s joined the class and it was fun. Of course I didn’t wait until Christmas to give the hat to Carmen. And here it is!
Isn’t she adorable! When my friend Sally saw Anemone Hat, she wanted me to make one for a new born she knew.
No matter the size, no matter the age, no matter the sex, Anemone Hat looks adorable on all.
Are you smiling yet? I love to make them and look at them. Then there’s Princess Elanor.
OMG! I could just jump into the picture and kiss those cheeks. I even made one for Me.
Ok, now be honest here. Hasn’t this made you smile. I think it is very important to have a pattern in your pocket that brings you joy. If times are rough, like 2020, pull it out and smile. If you’re stuck on a knitting plateau, pull it out and smile. You can find Anemone Hat on Ravelry. Buy it and get ready to smile.
Here I Am! I bet you wonder where I’ve been. It’s been a hard few months for all of us whether we’re knitters or not. In addition to the frightening things that have happened in our everyday life, I have 3 very sad issues related to my beloved knitting. I shared with you that Twisted Fiber Art was closing up shop.
I was so sad. The last day of December, the twisted ladies took their last order. I must say, I purchased several times in December from the condo knowing it would be my last opportunity. You know how I feel about discontinued yarns and colorways!
I was still grieving the loss of TFA, when I got a call from Ann at the end of December saying Ann’s By Design was closing.
Ann’s By Design has been a huge part of my life for the past six years. I volunteered for a wonderful woman to provide the knitters of Adrian and surrounding communities the opportunity to develop their knitting skills in a community of caring knitters. I have made friends, contributed to the expansion of my stash and been part of a very special family of knitters.
Ann said Ann’s By Design would open Monday, January 4 with 50% off sale and close the end of the month. I hung-up and cried.
We came home early, January 14. I was excited to catch up on Jocelyn Brown’s column in the Detroit Free Press. Jocelyn provided Knitting: A Love Story a boost by writing about it in her HandMade column. She was so good to me, showcasing Knitting: A Love Story in three separate columns. I got so many readers from the exposure.
Here she is the gorgeous, amazing woman who has brought so much joy into my life
Then there was the amazing Knit Detroit Jocelyn arranged sponsored by the Detroit News. I met knitters there who became friends.
The Diet Coke, Twisted Fiber Art Evolution and colorful yarn tell you where I was setting. I introduced Jocelyn and attending knitters to TFA that day.
I kept looking for HandMade in the Friday Free Press HomeStyle supplement. I thought Jocelyn must be taking a break. When I finally checked the archives, I discovered Jocelyn’s last column was December 25. Three of my favorite knitting experiences all ending at the same time! To say I was distraught would be an understatement. I tried to write in Knitting: A Love Story, but didn’t feel I had anything left to say. I felt that anything I shared would be rehashing old news and you would be bored silly with me. Then last week I received the following email. “Good evening. I just wanted to share that I bought a used Aran Knitting book on Amazon and inside I found a column on your Knitting: A Love Story blog. I found it very sweet, and I looked up your blog and will now follow it! I love that you included the Survivor Shawl pattern in the article. Thank you! It’s very inspiring!” So in a used book someone found the Jocelyn Brown article which brought this person to Knitting: A Love Story. Magic! What an inspiration for me to put on my big girl pants and start writing again. This email was the key that started my engine.
Now I have another bit of excitement that burst my depression bubble. Ann’s By Design is going to open under new ownership. My dear friend and knitting buddy Michelle will be the new owner. I have committed to the same arrangement with Michelle that I had with Ann. I will work gratis to help the shop prosper and provide knitters and crocheters with a community of support.
This is my official restart. I have a plethora of projects (oh how I love alliteration) to share and ideas to excite. Please rejoin me to learn about and love everything fiber.
2020 taught me about being mindful, the importance of lists and the necessity of joy. So this is My Year of Mindful, Joyful Knitting. I just wasn’t ready to go full throttle fearless knitting. I want to feel the importance of what I choose and let its joy wash over me. I’ve learned in 2020 that it’s easy to overlook things without a list. This list will be my mindful map to knitting joy. So here we go to my 2021 knitting goals.
1. Knit at least one Kulabra Designs pattern. I have fallen in love with Kulabra patterns. I love the way they look, how they challenge my mind and the color they bring into my life. Let me show you a couple of pictures of Kulabra Designs I’ve completed.
Aren’t they amazing!?!?!
2. Develop a chart to make this scarf into a double knit pattern. I tracked down the maker and asked her if I could purchase the pattern since the company no longer makes the scarf. I would have bought the scarf but it is discontinued. She said she doesn’t sell her patterns so I’m going to try to develop my own. Who knows, it may be better.
3. Combine Jan’s Spectrum with fearless knitting with maybe a Kulabra pattern to make something really spectacular.
in December Ann’s By Design commissioned a colorway called Jan’s Spectrum. It’s Jan’s Spectrum because it has no yellow. I am not a fan of yellow. My spectrum would be Ro G Biv. Instead of Roy G Biv. The word came out (and what a wonderful surprise it was for me) and I bought 10. The big question is will I ever be able to knit with it. You all know how I am about yarns/colorways I think may be irreplaceable. I just can’t use them. But I think Jan’s Spectrum and Kulabra may just peak my interest enough to actually use it.
Isn’t it absolutely, amazingly, spectacularly beautiful!?!?!?
4. Knit an amazing tribute to Twisted Fiber Art. Maybe I will combine this with the double knit scarf pattern I want to create. WOW! I’m getting excited already.
Beautifully, amazingly spectacular!
5. Finish at least one TBFL (to be finished later) project.
I know you’ve seen this project every year, but this year I think I may really dig it out and finish it.
The is the amazing Helen Hamann Rainbow Cardigan and why I put it in “time out.” I think I’ve solved the problem of the tangled mess. I do love this.
6. Finish at least one project out of kits I’ve made.
I love this kit. Snood Forest Witch and beautiful Madelinetosh yarn. Doesn’t get any better than this.
7. Be more intentional about Knitting: A Love Story. This has been a very difficult year to feel inspired. I hope 2021 will provide the environment where I feel like I have something to share
8. Learn a new skill or technique. I don’t know what this is but I need to feel my engine revved.
9. Continue Social Knitting From Afar. My Thursdays with my dear friend Linda Kaufman has kept me going. We knit wonderful projects and cheer each other. It is a must.
Well, here it is. It felt so wonderful to plan. I feel I have a direction. I hope you will give me another chance in 2021. Here’s wishing to a Happy Better New Year filled with yummy yarn and delectable designs.
Here it is December 28, 2020. Only four more days until 2020 is finally over. It has been a stinker. An absolutely creepy thing that started happening during this horrible year is the pictures in Knitting: A Love Story started changing. Stories I’d written long ago had pictures that don’t remotely relate to the story. I have no idea what is happening but I do find it unnerving.
2020 made a tremendous impact on my approach to knitting. I only gave one treasure away for Christmas. I don’t know if I have become overprotective of my treasures or what. I gave a Bandito scarf to the amazing Carmen who tames my hair. But nothing to anybody else.
This was supposed to be My Year of Fearless Knitting 2.0 but I really didn’t tackle anything that could be called Fearless since I started Comet at the Coastal Condo in January.
It is in a TBFL (To Be Finished Later) bag to be finished later. At this time, I thought My Year Of Fearless Knitting 2.0 was on track. Then I finished this. . .
I planned on having a class for Verdigreen but then COVID-19 came. I did teach a class but it was virtual and just not the same. If someone was having trouble or made a mistake, I couldn’t touch it and stretch it and read it. But I did learn a lot about structuring a virtual class.
Practicing Stay Home Stay Safe, Linda and I started Social Knitting From Afar and knitted 4 treasures and are working on our fifth.
Deb Hale started Social Knitting on Friday afternoons. It has been wonderful.
This definitely is Fearless but I didn’t get around to it. It’s in the queue and I love it. Maybe in 2021.
This is definitely Fearless but I couldn’t seen to get it right. Maybe in 2021.
This is also definitely Fearless but I started it and frogged it. I just played it safe but beautiful this year. As everything around me was frightening and scarey, I stuck to safe patterns made with gorgeous yarn.
Needles to say, I wasn’t brave or fearless this year. I neglected Knitting: A Love Story not feeling very inspired. But once again, sticks and strings pulled me through. The rhythm of the needles soothed me. I’m ready for a do over. So let’s do it! Let’s use 2021 to re-engage, reconnect and re-do. To quote James Holzhauer from Jeopardy “I’m all in!”
I’ve been putting off writing about this because it makes me so sad. 😢 My favorite Fiber Festival, online and LYS Twisted Fiber Art in Mason, MI will be closing its doors the end of December. I can’t believe it. I have been a loyal customer for at least 10 years. My dear friend Kay Reeves introduced me to TFA, I visited the shop and fell in love. I’ve visited the shop. . .
I’ve attended Yarn Tasting events. . .
I’ve visited them at Fiber Festivals. . .
And I’ve visited the online shop more times than I can count. I love the staff. . .
Meg, the genius behind the revolutionary Evolution dying technique.
Hazel, Meg’s daughter
Anne, Meg’s mother
And Beth, the most amazing sales, idea and customer service person I’ve ever met. She has fixed my ordering mistakes, found the perfect yarn cake for me and done it all with a big smile.
This is my favorite TFA colorway, Roy G Biv. It is the first cake of TFA I bought and I made this hat designed by Anne. I remember seeing Hazel wearing this hat at a Fiber Festival and I begged for the pattern. At that time Anne hadn’t written the pattern down. So began my stalking and begging until I finally got the pattern. I love it. Every time I wear it, people stop me and comment.
This is Bandito my second favorite TFA pattern. I have made this scarf so many times. It is perfect travel knitting made with the yummy Catnip Evolution.
I have participated in TFA Clubs and received brand new colorways others may never have. It is from a club I was introduced to Lucky Penny. I’ve purchased 2 grab bags every year for a Christmas gift for my sister and me. Without looking Kathy decides which package is mine and which is her’s. It’s so much fun.
I have written about Twisted Fiber Art more than any other LYS. I published more pictures of the amazing Evolution (which became my addiction) than any other yarn. I remember going to Joselyn Brown’s (Detroit News Handmade columnist) Knitting Detroit day. It was one of the best days of my knitting life. There were 20ish of us invited to spend the day sharing stories and yarn. (Or sharing yarns and yarn.) We were supposed to bring a skein of yarn to trade. Needless to say, I brought a cake of Twisted Fiber Art Evolution. I told the TFA story and participants were clamoring to trade for my cake. When Jocelyn wrote about TFA in Handmade, I always hoped I had something to do with it.
Right now I have 5 HUGE tubs of TWA cakes. I am so glad. I must say writing this is making me a little teary. I just received what may be my last TFA order.
It’s Lumberjack in 3 of my favorite yarn bases.
This is a tub of all of the samples I’ve received from TFA over the years. I had no idea what I would do with them, I just knew it would be unconscionable to throw them away. Now I know! I am winding them into a ball which will be come a cake which will become the most amazing treasure in my knitting history. I will keep it, devour it with my eyes and remember the magic that was Twisted Fiber Art. Twisted Ladies, I will so miss you and your magical yarn that brought me so much happiness and joy. My secret wish is some day Twisted Fiber Art will be back and I will be able to renew my love affair.
You know that Linda and I having been meeting online every Thursday night during Social Knitting From Afar. We have finished four treasures and are working on our fifth. For the first treasure S Curve, we used exactly the same yarn.
For our next three (The Moon and Other Satellites and Spice Market twice), we used very different colors producing very different looks. When Linda and I first became knitting buddies, Linda was a teal girl and I loved anything with lots of vibrant color. Some things never change. I want to share with you how a change in color changes the look of a pattern.
First is our first Spice Market.
Then the second Spice Market
There they are. Four different ways of interpreting a single pattern. All beautiful. I would knit this again and again and it would look different every time. Color is everything. Now let’s look at The Moon and Other Satellites.
There they are. See Linda’s The Moon And Other Satellites. Her teal is back. I can’t tell you how much I love discovering how our different color interpretations make our treasures our own and unique. Sometimes you see pattern and you can’t imagine using a different yarn or different color. I say IMAGINE. Take a walk on the wild side. Quite frankly, sometimes walking up to the edge of color doesn’t work. You might thiink, “What was I thinking!” You also might look at it, sigh and fall in love. I think it worth the risk.
What a wild and wonderful week! Ann’s By Design had a PopUp Store last week with the indie dyer Adelaide Fiber Company. When I went in Monday morning to do Live with Ann, Jan and Melissa, Janice was setting up. WOWIE! ZOWIE! I didn’t realize how much I missed visiting LYS and discovering new fiber. I haven’t been in a LYS except for Ann’s By Design since the end of January. Don’t get me wrong, I love buying yarn at my favorite online LYS but there is just something about picking the skeins up that I love. Janice, the owner, does a magnificent job of dying. Her colors are vibrant and beautiful and her yarn is soft and yummy. Monday I did take a few things home. (Well, not really take, I did pay.)
In the midst of writing What I Learned From ThePopUp Store, the screen on my iPad became unresponsive. After deleting and reloading Weebly several times, I finally decided it was time for a new iPad. Here it is! I named it C3 for Coastal Condo Chick. And here we go!
Last Monday when I went to Ann’s By Design for Live With Ann, Jan and Melissa, something amazing and wonderful was happening.
There was a woman setting up a display using some of the yummiest yarn I’ve ever seen. Not only did I caress it with my eyes, for the first time since January, I could pet and snuggle a new yarn. No more virtual feeling. It was wonderful!
Look at this!
And this! This is the display where I spent the most time and money. It is the single-ply, fingering yarn. All of a sudden I’ve realized when I buy UD (undesignated) yarn, it is almost always fingering.
This is a wrap Janice had on display to showcase her amazing fiber. It is called The Great British Baking Shawl. Don’t you just love it!?!?!? I fell in love with the pattern and had to buy yarn to do it someday.
This is what I picked out first. I must say that I surprised myself and everyone else by having yellow as part of the mix. I thought it over and came back Thursday to replace the yellow (ick! 🤭) with something else. What was I thinking?!?!?
From left to right, these amazing colors are: You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry, She Walks In Beauty, Smoke On The Water and Winter Moss. Not only are the colors amazing, the names are hilarious. You know how much I love yarn names. My two favorite names still are Zombie Prom and Dirty Hippy.
Linda’s birthday was October 14, so I bought yarn to send to Linda. This is Cosmic Brownie. It is the first color my eyes found and my favorite of all Adelaide’s colorways.
This is Muppets Strike Back. It also cried out, “Linda would love me!” I sent the skeins and a scarf made out of Michigan fall colors. You see, Linda is really missing fall colors this year. The package got to her to open during Social Knitting From Afar on Thursday October 8. We had an early impromptu birthday celebration. Now, let’s see what I purchased through the week
This is Friday Night Lights. I don’t know about you but I still miss that heart warming Friday night TV show about high school football in Texas. I really should search Peacock, Netflix and Amazon Prime to see if I can find it.
This is Teenage Dreams.
I brought these for Festival of Stitches. Colors from left to right are Suicide Blonde, Don’t Forget The Flowers and Edward Cullen. One might think this was enough but Saturday I went back for these for me.
After giving Linda Cosmic Brownie and Muppets Strike Back, I realized I love them too much not to have them in the “Collection.”
So what did I learn from the PopUp Store? I learned colors are always more vibrant in person. I learned snuggling and petting yarn is vital to the total experience. I got in touch with the joy of putting colors together for a project. Miss Babs is the only website I’ve found that lets you put colors together to see how they work with each other. I learned how much I miss talking to indie dyers. They are always so humble and proud of their work. I learned how much I miss exploring a new yarn collection, letting my eyes slide over skeins and colors until they suddenly stop at something I can’t live without. I rekindled the feeling of excitement and joy that only an in-person experience provides. I realized how much joy COVID-19 has robbed from me and will be so grateful when a vaccine is available.
Now that I have a reliable, responsive iPad, I will be with you more often. Keep knitting and stay safe.
One of the many changes coming from Covid for me is I can’t seem to think of anything that I think readers could possibly be interested in. I think of a possible target, don’t write it down then forget what is was. Linda calls that Covid brain. I was shocked to see the last time I posted on Knitting: A Love Story. The first couple of years of Knitting: A Love Story were printed in book form so my Mom could read them. She just didn’t get reading on an iPad. Those were pretty thick books. As the years have gone by, the books have gotten thinner until I’m not sure if 2020 will produce even a good sized pamphlet. No working at Ann’s By Design, or at least doing a different kind of work. No visiting new LYS. No face to face social knitting. Things have slowed down so much, except for Social Knitting From Afar with Linda. Our Tuesday virtual get togethers have become the focal point of my week and my knitting inspiration. Linda and I have finished our third project. It is one of my favorites. Remember The Moon and Other Satellites?
This is the yarn I finally decided on after several false starts. I must admit that I added and subtracted yarn along the way until it was perfect. Finally, it looked exactly like I envisioned it would look.
The Moon and Other Satellites uses five yarns but one of my choices was Twisted Fiber Art’s Nessy in Glamour. That makes it look like more than five yarns. When I look at TMAOS it relaxes me. The word cosmic pops into my head. See all of the little twinkling stars? Beautiful! Now I’ll just do a series of TMAOS and enjoy the scenery.
We have moved on to our next Social Knitting From Afar project, the second iteration of Spice Market. Just choosing a different color pallet makes it look like a totally different wrap. We’ll be done in a couple of weeks, then I’ll have a new Social Knitting From afar treasure to show you. I’ll try to be better at posting. See you soon.
Nothing shares a piece of my heart like a knitted treasure. One Tuesday, I got a text from Marcia, a friend I met in the fall of 1990 when I went to work at Lenawee Intermediate School District. Her son Zac and his wife Kristen were the proud parents of a little girl, Marcia’s first grandchild. The little princess was about a month early. Marcia sent me pictures from the hospital and she was beautiful. Long dark hair, tiny little finger and this perfect face. What was my first thought? “I’ve got to knit something.” I wanted to have something finished for Marcia so she could take it with her to her first visit with the little princess. I literally raced up the stairs to the Stash Studio being careful not to trip on things spread all over the floor.
I found a ball of this beautiful yarn which to me screams, “MERMAID!” I found my baby mermaid tail pattern and immediately started knitting.
You might remember this pattern. I made a mermaid tale for my friend Evie’s great granddaughter a couple of years ago. I just love knitting this. You all know what I think of deadline knitting. I do not like it. I think it disturbs the zen of the knitting experience. But once I got into this, I was a woman on a mission. I was so concerned that Marcia would leave for her first visit and I wouldn’t have it done. By Friday, it was finished and pretty amazing if I do say so myself.
I took the magical tail over to Marcia’s Saturday. I think she might have actually squealed when she saw it. I got to see more pictures of the princess who was still in the hospital. A week or so went by and the princess was still not home. Finally, one morning I got a text saying Marcia was on her way for her first visit. Later that day I received this.
If this isn’t why people knit, I don’t know what is. Every time I look at this picture I smile and I must admit I get a little teary.
My neighbor hs been so very good about making masks for people. She has given me several never taking money offered. “AHA!” I had an idea! Why didn’t I look in my tub of treasures and see what Robyn might like. I found this.
Same scarf, different lighting! I took the scarf down Saturday and she was thrilled. I felt good and she felt good. The great thing about giving treasures away is when you give a piece of your heart away, you grow two pieces back. This is why I love knitting.
Aren’t these little beauties amazing! They are just a few of many of my minis.
I’m back!!!! “And where have you been?” you asked. On Friday, July 31, I had outpatient, elective surgery. It wasn’t a big deal just vanity surgery to remove the turkey who had taken up residence under my chin. I really thought I would be working on Knitting: A Love Story the next week. I experienced something I will call anesthetic brain. I couldn’t think of anything to write about but when I did, I started doing, “No! I could do this. No! I could do that. No! It’s this.” I just couldn’t make up my mind. Then it would be 5:00 and I would say, “Too late now! I do it in the morning.” Here I am!
When I was in the process of organizing the Stash Studio (way in the beginning of Stay Home Stay Safe) I ran across two things that reminded me of my obsession with mini-skeins of yarn. Then, I got to thinking about all of the different mini-skeins I have. I am just going to share with you the tip of the iceberg.
This is what put me back on the mini-skein track. It was like being on a diet, eating a piece of chocolate and wanting more and more chocolate. This is so beautiful! I bought it at Yarn Envy an amazing LYS about 30 minutes from Adrian. This was in the glass case at check-out. As I was paying for the already substantial yarn I had chosen, this caught my eye. “STOP!” I screamed. “Is it too late to put this on my credit card?” Well, it was but I didn’t care. It probably was better this way, I didn’t scare myself quite so much when it came through as two orders on the credit card statement, Just look at how cute those tiny little balls are wound. I have never seen yarn wound like that before. The sad part of this story is Yarn Envy closed in March.
You would think I found this little kit at Yarn Envy too but I didn’t. It just happens to be another ArtYarn kit. Linda and I were checking out a new LYS Joselyn Brown had written about in her column. It was in Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills. The moral of this story is, once again I couldn’t resist a kit made up of mini-skeins. Look at those teeny, weeny skeins. Aren’t they adorable!?!?!? I really think I must knit these two adorable little kits.
My obsession began in earnest when Madelinetosh came out with Unicorn Tails. I thought they were adorably spectacular. I began buying all I could find. At the time I did not even know what I would do with them. Then I found my first Unicorn Tails pattern.
This Sev (en) Circles pattern led to more Unicorn Tail which led to more patterns. Unicorn Tails were the first minis for me but not the last.
All of a sudden, gradient sets of minis were the “in” thing. Need I say I bought my share or maybe more than my share.
Wonderland Yarns makes exquisite gradient sets. I won’t show you all of mine or I might just crash Weebly.
This is an irresistible set of gradient minis by The Unique Sheep. Each mini is gradient which connects the whole set of yarns. I haven’t found the perfect pattern for this yet and it really deserves the perfect pattern.
Then we have Miss Babs Yummy 2 Ply Toes which became this amazing treasure.
Freia has also come out with minis and the patterns to support.
I’m in the process of making a scarf out of this which will snap, crackle and pop.
Can’t you just see it!?!?!?
These mini-skeins became this. . .
Well, I think you have the gist of the length, breadth and color of my obsession. Mini-skeins were made for people who love color. You can have all of the color you want without taking out a personal loan. Tiny splashes of amazing color in every treasure. Is that me, or what!?!?!
This blog is dedicated to Mary Helen Growt my first knitting teacher and the woman who changed my life. The mission of Knitting: A Love Story is to preserve, share and promote the love of knitting.